Ford Econoline Fibreglass Roof Repair *HELP* - Fiberglass RV
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Old 09-06-2020, 12:31 PM   #1
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Name: Hal
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Exclamation Ford Econoline Fibreglass Roof Repair *HELP*

Hello,

I have a camper I've rebuilt the motor and now am moving onto the interior build, however the roof is made of a fibreglass shell and is full of pinholes, causing water to leak in everywhere. I had to fully gut the original interior as a result of it being covered in green moss and mold.

I'm wondering does anyone have suggestions how I should patch this up?

I have access to a friends spray gun for gelcoat/topcoat but also am considering doing the matting / resin way and cutting the roof off flipping her upside down and refibreglassing the inside (there's some rotten wood boards attached to the roof fibreglass that needs to be taken out and replaced during same time). I'm considering options, whether to do matting / resin inside, topcoat outside, or just spray a coat of gelcoat inside and toss rubber on the outside, or any other options anyone can suggest?

I'm just a newb when it comes to fibreglass, and I dont know the best course of action to take in regard to this task. It seems a bit daunting and I could use any advice, feedback or suggestions! I appreciate it a lot!!


Pics:

https://imgur.com/a/1VZvd9k
https://imgur.com/a/HRMh1Pi
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Old 09-07-2020, 09:59 AM   #2
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Your original fiberglass resin is most likely polyester (very stinky, but cheaper) and you'll probably want to make the repairs with that. You can use epoxy resin (less stink, greater bonding strength, but pricier) instead of polyester. BoatworksToday, Life On The Hulls, Hot Action Fishing and Fab, and Sail Life have excellent YouTube videos on how to work with fiberglass.
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Old 09-07-2020, 10:29 AM   #3
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You have to decide on what you want to do? It depends on the exterior condition of the gelcoat and if you are happy with it or if you want to change the paint. Think of the roof as an upside-down boat and at highway speeds your van is subjected to a lot of stress unless you make sure that all the support that it came with is put back in. I don't like vans that have all the roof cut out. I believe that the roof over the driver's area should not be cut out and neither should the rear section to the closest cross member. If you want to reinforce the roof from the inside with fibreglass cloth or mat, it is easier if you take it off and do it upside down. (big job)! If you try to seal it in place, you need to be comfortable working on a ladder or build a support for you and your tools. The result will not look professional done this way. Spraying with gelcoat will not add strength, it is used a finish coat if using a mould to make new pieces.
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Old 09-07-2020, 11:13 AM   #4
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There’s a very thorough introduction to fiberglass work in the thread “You Can Repair Fiberglass.” Find it using the “site search/google” option at the bottom of the search menu.
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Old 09-07-2020, 12:34 PM   #5
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Hello everyone,


Thank you for your comments and suggestions! I appreciate this a lot. I will take a look into those youtube videos, the harder resin materials, and the fibreglass fix threads.



Out of curiosity, how could you tell it is a polyester resin used in my roof?



My game plan at the moment looks like this:


Unscrew roof from frame
flip upside down
Remove old rotten wood boards
Put new wood in
Matting + resin & hardener
Flip back up
Spray gelcoat / top coat to the exterior side
Possibly wrap the exterior side with that RV Roof Rubber stuff & paint white?
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Old 09-07-2020, 02:01 PM   #6
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I think that the time for gelcoat is past for what you are doing, I suggest that you go to a boat supply store and get a one or two part hull bottom paint, you may have to apply 2 coats, using rollers and brushes. they may even suggest a primer. Gelcoat is usually sprayed into a form after it has been sprayed with some time of release material.
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Old 09-07-2020, 02:07 PM   #7
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Fiberglass top repair

Mac, just a suggestion: before you start this repair, try to find a local marine fiberglass repair shop, & have them look at it. If your roof is pockmarked with pinholes, it might be best to go a little further than the above discussions.
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Old 09-07-2020, 02:29 PM   #8
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Thank you for this info! I thought I could just sand down the exterior then gelcoat it. I will look into this hull bottom paint!



Quote:
Originally Posted by jokra View Post
I think that the time for gelcoat is past for what you are doing, I suggest that you go to a boat supply store and get a one or two part hull bottom paint, you may have to apply 2 coats, using rollers and brushes. they may even suggest a primer. Gelcoat is usually sprayed into a form after it has been sprayed with some time of release material.
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Old 09-07-2020, 02:30 PM   #9
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Thank you for the suggestion David, I appreciate that. I guess I never thought of doing this before because they work on marine, but if its the same process I hope they're willing to take a look! I'll give it a shot



Quote:
Originally Posted by DaveMinBako View Post
Mac, just a suggestion: before you start this repair, try to find a local marine fiberglass repair shop, & have them look at it. If your roof is pockmarked with pinholes, it might be best to go a little further than the above discussions.
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Old 09-07-2020, 02:40 PM   #10
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We plan to repaint the entire exterior of the van after getting rid of surface rust and patching the roof/window leaks. A friend who just got a motorhome for cheap was putting huge rubber roofing style material on his roof to seal it up and I found that interesting (its much cheaper than gelcoat too) He said hes painting it after with some white RV roof paint material after as well. It is another route im considering but it would look ugly hanging over the sides, as my roof is a shell, while his is flat, so I doubt i will do it.


I agree, and this camper does still retain the original roof over the driver/cab area in case of roll overs, anyone in the back would be toast though



ooh i see. thank you for clarifying this, I do plan to take the roof off for the job. The roof is still pretty strong, I was able to walk on the top without any problem when installing new lights and roof vent. I mostly just want to seal up the holes to stop water leaking in, and yes add a little bit more strength never would hurt either I suppose



Quote:
Originally Posted by jokra View Post
You have to decide on what you want to do? It depends on the exterior condition of the gelcoat and if you are happy with it or if you want to change the paint. Think of the roof as an upside-down boat and at highway speeds your van is subjected to a lot of stress unless you make sure that all the support that it came with is put back in. I don't like vans that have all the roof cut out. I believe that the roof over the driver's area should not be cut out and neither should the rear section to the closest cross member. If you want to reinforce the roof from the inside with fibreglass cloth or mat, it is easier if you take it off and do it upside down. (big job)! If you try to seal it in place, you need to be comfortable working on a ladder or build a support for you and your tools. The result will not look professional done this way. Spraying with gelcoat will not add strength, it is used a finish coat if using a mould to make new pieces.
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